Easy Learning Italian

The pluperfect or past perfect tense - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

What is the pluperfect tense?
The pluperfect tense is used to talk about what had happened or had been true at a point in the past, for example, I’d forgotten to send her a card.

1  Using the pluperfect tense

  • When talking about the past we sometimes refer to things that had already happened previously. In English we use had followed by a past participle such as done, broken, worked, arrived to do this. This tense is called the pluperfect or past perfect.
  • The Italian pluperfect tense is used in a similar way, but like the perfect tense, it can be made with either avere or essere, and the past participle.
Avevamo già mangiato quando è arrivato.We’d already eaten when he arrived.
Ovviamente erano riusciti a risolvere il problema.They’d obviously managed to solve the problem.

2  How to make the pluperfect tense with avere

  • To make the pluperfect tense with avere:
  • choose the imperfect form of avere that matches the subject of the sentence.
  • add the past participle. Do not change the ending of the participle to make it agree with the subject.
  • The pluperfect tense of parlare (meaning to speak) is as follows:
Imperfect tense
of avere
Past participle of
parlare

Meaning
(io)avevoparlatoI had spoken
(tu)aveviparlatoyou had spoken
(lui/lei)
(Lei)
avevaparlatohe/she had spoken
you had spoken
(noi)avevamoparlatowe had spoken
(voi)avevateparlatoyou had spoken
(loro)avevanoparlatothey had spoken
Non gli avevo mai parlato prima.I’d never spoken to him before.
Sara gli aveva parlato il giorno prima.Sara had spoken to him the day before.
  • Note that you use the same form of avere for lui, lei and Lei.
  • For more information on Verbs with irregular past participles, see The perfect tense.
TipDo not use the pluperfect tense to say since when, or how long you had been doing something – da and the imperfect tense is used for this in Italian.
Abitavamo lì dal 1990.We’d lived there since 1990.
  • For more information on da, see Prepositions page 174.

3  When to make the pluperfect tense with avere

  • As with the perfect tense, you use avere to make the pluperfect tense of most verbs.
  • You do not use avere to make the pluperfect tense of:
  • reflexive verbs
  • certain verbs that do not take a direct object, such as andare (meaning to go), venire (meaning to come), diventare (meaning to become).
Ovviamente avevo sbagliato.I’d obviously made a mistake.
Avevano lavorato molto il giorno prima.They’d worked hard the day before.
  • Note that, as with the perfect tense, the past participle agrees with the object pronouns lo and la, (meaning him, her and it) and li and le (meaning them) when they come before the verb.
Non l’avevo vista.I hadn’t seen her.
Le lettere? Non le aveva mai lette.The letters? He’d never read them.
Key points
  • The pluperfect tense is used to talk about what had already happened in the past.
  • The Italian pluperfect tense is made with the imperfect of avere or essere, and the past participle.
  • avere is used to make the pluperfect tense of most verbs.

4  How to make the pluperfect tense with essere

  • To make the pluperfect tense with essere:
  • choose the imperfect form of essere that matches the subject of the sentence.
  • add the past participle. Make the ending of the participle agree with the subject.
  • The pluperfect tense of andare (meaning to go) is as follows:
Imperfect tense
of essere
Past participle of
andare

Meaning
(io)eroandato or andataI had gone
(tu)eriandato or andatayou had gone
(lui)eraandatohe/it had gone
(lei)eraandatashe/it had gone
(Lei)eraandato or andatayou had gone
(noi)eravamoandati or andatewe had gone
(voi)eravateandati or andateyou had gone
(loro)eranoandati or andatethey had gone
Silvia era andata con loro.Silvia had gone with them.
Tutti i miei amici erano andati alla festa.All my friends had gone to the party.

5  When to make the pluperfect tense with essere

  • When essere is used to make the perfect tense of a verb, you also use essere to make the pluperfect.
  • Use essere to make the pluperfect of all reflexive verbs, and of certain verbs that do not take a direct object, such as andare (meaning to go), venire (meaning to come), riuscire (meaning to succeed), diventare (meaning to become) and piacere (meaning to like).
Ovviamente non gli erano piaciuti i quadri.He obviously hadn’t liked the pictures.
Sono arrivata alle cinque, ma erano già partiti.I arrived at five, but they’d already gone.
Fortunatamente non si era fatta male.Luckily she hadn’t hurt herself.
Key points
  • Verbs that make their perfect tense with essere also make their pluperfect tense with essere.
  • When the pluperfect tense is made with essere the past participle agrees with the subject of the sentence.
  • essere is used to make the pluperfect tense of reflexive verbs and certain verbs that do not take a direct object.

查看相关内容

科林斯的新消息!
科林斯的新消息!
英语单词列表
英语单词列表
最新提交的词汇
最新提交的词汇
轻松学习英语语法
轻松学习英语语法
COBUILD 语法
COBUILD 语法
文字爱好者的博客
文字爱好者的博客
在线拼字检查
在线拼字检查
The Paul Noble Method
The Paul Noble Method
Create an account and sign in to access this FREE content
Register now or login in to access